I'm a reactionary person. My first step is always, no strike that, has always been defensive and it is in those first moments of an issue where I tend to make my biggest mistakes. I've been working on trying to put a "speed bump" in there somewhere so that I give the new skills I'm trying to acquire an opportunity to kick in. I had a couple of opportunities this last week at work and I couldn't be happier with the outcomes.
One of my strongest character traits/flaws is as stated above - I take things very personally. I take my job personally. I almost view (unhealthily, as I've come to know)the software package that I've sunk years of blood/sweat/tears into as an extension of myself. Hate the package, hate me. One of the things that I've been working on is allowing others to have their own feelings about things - including my life's work. In two situations when confronted, I managed to turn them into win-wins. I didn't work on trying to change the other person's mind. I didn't try to convince them that their viewpoint was wrong. I just let it go and worked on getting us to a good spot. I was wildly successful in both situations. It was all in how you look at things - viewing these situations as opportunities rather than personal attacks changes the whole flavor of the interaction.
I'm sure most of you know these things, but I'm been very, very slow coming to this party.
Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Something wonderful will happen.
ps Something wonderful will happen is not mine. I read about it on someone's blog, but loved the sentiment. Start each day telling yourself something wonderful will happen. Chances are, if you are looking for it and are open to it, it will.